It's amazing; one of the more unpopular premiers in this country, and his opponents still fail to get a real upper hand against him for long.
The latest Ipsos-Reid poll puts the Hudak Tories in Ontario, only 3% above the McGuinty Liberals, with the Ontario NDP rounding up third with a cool 17%, and the Greens at 9%. This compares to Ipsos' last poll, which gave Hudak's party a 9-point lead at 41%.
Rounding up these results is the fact that the Liberals hold a 13-point lead within the GTA, 45%-32%. Consider that in 2007, the results were essentially the same, with a slight, 2% boost to Tory fortunes, the Rob Ford effect has been negligible, at best, and non-existent at worst. Who's surprised by that?
McGuinty's drop has come from Southwestern, Central, and Eastern Ontario, where we're not sure of the lead, but its apparently "commanding." It's Southwestern and Eastern Ontario where that's a concern (Central Ontario already saw a commanding Tory lead), and where all of these drops are coming from. I wish I new specifics, but I'll guess anywhere between a 5-point and 10-point lead for the Tories in those regions, based on the topline results.
Using UBC's election forecaster, you get 46 Conservatives (+20 from 2007), 44 Liberals (-27), and 17 NDP (+7). A big drop, but still a very slim minority. These are just simple calculations, however, so I'll update this later with 308.com's projection, which will be much more accurate than this simple swing.
So, how come Hudak can't catch a break? Could it be his lacklustre policies? Or the infighting? Or simply that he's no real alternative to the McGuinty Liberals who have a record of accomplishment for Ontario and families? I dunno.
To be fair to Hudak, he is still maintaining a lead and that's a lot more than his predecessor managed to do for any good period of time. He's definitely not out of the running and if given the chance, I think Hudak could pull off a level of competency that would beat back the Liberals. After all, McGuinty's government isn't loved. But with numbers like these, a drop from previous results, he's not starting off too well at all. He needs to do better if he wants to become the next Premier of Ontario (God help us all).